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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Legend of Zorro

Another inept sequel

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 15, 2006 -- This inept sequel to the much superior “The Mask of Zorro” (1998) is typical of many sequels. The budget is big, the production values high, but the script stinks and the over-the-top stunts are absurdly exaggerated. Loads of frivolous action can't make up for a scatterbrained plot like this. Stars Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones return from the original, joined by their on-screen son, a Zorro-in-the-making, in case there is another sequel.

The film has plenty of light-hearted action and some excellent stunt work, headed by stunt coordinator David Leitch. All of this frenetic activity is in service of an unbelievably nonsensical, hyperactive plot which involves gallons of nitroglycerin, Pinkerton detective spies and a secret European cabal (the Knights Of Aragon) which is trying to fix the outcome of the impending American civil war. There are also land grabs and attempts to rig the California election on statehood. On top of all that, there is marital strife between Don Alejandro de la Vega (Banderas) and his wife, Elena (Zeta-Jones). Their divorce is one of the more unbelievable byproducts of this unwieldy and over-complicated plot, along with spies and untrained, unofficial undercover operatives. The film's reliance on spies and conspiracies is vaguely reminiscent of another, similar turkey from a few years ago, “The Wild Wild West.”

Banderas and Zeta-Jones are charismatic, likeable stars, but they are largely wasted in this expensive boondoggle. Zorro's son, played by Adrian Alonso, is likeable. Rufus Sewell, who often plays the villain in movies, is deliciously evil as the villain Armand. Another good villain is the wooden-toothed, Bible-thumping, psychopathic Jacob McGivens (played by Nick Chinlund). This is another unfortunate example of Hollywood's fixation on Christian villains. At least the film has an equal-opportunity Christian hero, the two-fisted Brother Ignacio (Alberto Reyes), who stands up to the villains and hides Zorro's secret identity.

The acting in this film is good enough that it could have carried this film if it was written as a character-driven plot. Instead, the actors are at the mercy of an idiot plot. For some reason, the screenwriters felt it was necessary to keep the audience in the dark about the various conspiracies in the movie for quite a while. As a result, by the time the conspiracies are revealed in movie, I had lost what little interest I had in the story. Most of the characters in the movie can't figure out what is going on either. The mystery portion of the story doesn't work because it is way too absurd to be of any interest to inquiring minds. This film rates a D+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2006 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)